Francis is one of a growing minority of Canadians who resisted the national call to the hockey rink and turned to the ol' ballgame, following a trail blazed by the likes of former teammate Larry Walker. He found moderate success as a youngster growing up in British Columbia, and he jumped into his academic pursuits as a physics major in college, reading books like Robert Adair's "The Physics of Baseball" for homework. But no, he will tell you, despite his prowess sniffing out pitches in the humidor, his physics background has had no bearing on his ability to perform at altitude.Though Francis celebrated the end of his rookie season by getting married to his longtime sweetheart, the former Allison Padfield, on New Year's Eve 2005, he had to miss his older brother's wedding two years later, because the long-planned ceremony was set for Game 1 of the NLCS, with Francis battling the Diamondbacks' Brandon Webb. "This is a once in a lifetime thing, and my brother wants me to be here," Francis said. "I promised him some World Series tickets, so I hope that makes up for it."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.